International conservation lobby groups on Monday urged Kenyan and Tanzanian authorities to support community-led efforts to reclaim the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem amid threats linked to climate change and population pressure.

The green advocates said that empowering local communities is key to boosting conservation of the vast Mara-Serengeti trans-boundary ecosystem that has been designated as the 8th wonder of the world for being home to iconic wildlife species.

Business24

“Conservation of Mara-Serengeti ecosystem that is facing pressing environmental challenges should involve local communities,” Vi Agroforestry, an international conservation lobby, said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The lobby group said policy realignment, combined with public awareness, is key to enhancing participation of local communities in the conservation of Mara and Serengeti ecosystems that straddles Kenya and Tanzania.

“Communities should be enlightened on socioeconomic benefits that they are likely to derive from protecting biodiversity within the Mara Serengeti ecosystem,” Vi Agroforestry said.

Governments are urged to come up policy, legal and institutional frameworks that seek to strengthen response to threats to an ecosystem critical to the survival of millions of people, it added.

Sustainable conservation of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem is a key highlight of celebrations to mark Mara day in Tanzania on Sunday.

Policymakers and campaigners from regional and international conservation lobbies emphasized that harnessing indigenous knowledge possessed by local farmers and herders is key to boosting conservation of the trans-boundary ecosystem that is a source of major rivers.

According to Vi Agroforestry, application of traditional knowledge and practices is key to promoting conservation of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem through better land-use practices and reforestation.

The conservation lobby said communities should be an integral part of the design of policies and programs that aim to reduce human-wildlife conflict that has escalated in the trans-boundary ecosystem due to urbanization and rapid population growth. Enditem

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